I have to admit if I owned a WHL team I likely would not be in favour of a 24-game mini-season with no fans.

The Prince George Cougars are not saying how much money they are going to lose but they and the rest of the league teams will undoubtedly take a financial bath.

My guess is they will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How can they not with virtually no revenue coming in unless the government gives WHL and BCHL owners a helping hand like they are asking for?

If the season was all about money, the Cougars and WHL teams could easily have said let’s forget about 2020-21 in its entirety and try again in the fall.

“When you add the cost for all of the PPE equipment, the testing, we are going for the very best testing you can get privately, in addition to the hotels, the meals, travel, equipment, and staffing costs suffice to say it’s going to be a profound amount of money that we will be paying for this,” said Cougars VP of Business Andy Beasley in an interview Wednesday with Brendan Pawliw of mypgnow.com.

The WHL owners are making a financial sacrifice in part because they feel a responsibility to the players, their agents, and families to put a product on the ice even if it is not an ideal situation.

“We’ve been talking about this for months, and months and months just wringing our hands with worry and trying to plan as best as we can but most of all, the players now have a focus that they can sink their teeth into,” added Beasley.

More details are to come but the season for the BC Division will start in three weeks.

The Alberta teams in the Central Division opened one week ago, while the East Division Hub Center in Regina starts on March 12 and the U.S. Division will get going on March 19.

The Cougars are in a hub with the Blazers and Vancouver Giants in Kamloops while the Rockets and Victoria Royals are in a hub in Kelowna.

To further cut down on expenses it would make sense (cents) for the Cougars to play the Blazers and Giants more than they will the Rockets and Royals.

With just two dozen games, does it really matter if PG plays Kamloops and Vancouver 8 times each and Kelowna and Victoria 4 each as an example?

Although one might suggest the mini-season is just a showcase and not much more than exhibition games, Beasley feels it is important to have something on the line.

“There will be some sort of a championship or a format that will allow us to play for something this season.”

“I can tell you that right across the board the players and our coaching staff are very competitive by nature and they want their season to mean something and to have some kind of a title at the end of it. What that is hasn’t been determined yet.

According to a league release, WHL players and staff from B.C. Division Clubs will begin self-quarantining Saturday (March 6) and then will report to their respective WHL Hub Center in Kamloops or Kelowna on March 13, where they will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival followed by an additional quarantine period. Players and staff will then undergo a second COVID-19 test before being permitted to engage in any team activity.

The WHL will implement an ongoing weekly private PCR testing strategy. If a WHL Club has one or more players or staff test positive for COVID-19 at any point in the season, the Club will be required to suspend its Club activities for a minimum of 14 days.

With so much red tape to sort through one has to ask if this is all worth it?

The players think so and are appreciative of the opportunity.

As for the fans, you may not be able to attend the games but they will be available on WHL Live on CHL TV.

Of course, you can also hear the games on the radio.

It’s been a year without the Cougars.

Sure, it is a makeshift compressed season with all road games, but most of their supporters are pleased to have them back.

If all goes well, perhaps come October, the league will return to some form of normalcy.


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*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, Cali

It’s now March. A year ago the March Madness we were all expected was going to involve college basketball.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, under fire from her own Atlanta Dream players, sold her 49% stake in the WNBA team less than two months after losing in the Georgia runoff elections. That’s what you call a fast break.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


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*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 the Goat radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca